Oikango – The Erastus Uutoni community project at Oikango is proof that the solution to food security lies in communities and backyard gardens.
The coordinator at Erastus Uutoni community project Hambeleleni Hainghumbi said the project aims at securing food and in the long-run create income for group members.
Meanwhile, the money from the sale of produce is being invested in the construction of infrastructure that will house an office, a storeroom and a hall.
“We want to expand the garden and incorporate an after-school programme, hence the construction of the hall. In future we would also want to have a library so that our children can have additional studying materials at the centre,” said Hainghumbi.
The group, consisting mostly of women, grows vegetables.
The garden is run by people living positively with HIV, as well as other unemployed women and men from the village.
The centre also has plans to assist the elderly once it has been electrified.
Part of the group’s responsibility is to assist pensioners with household chores in the village.
Although the garden is flourishing it recently collapsed when it was blown away by the wind.
“But we managed to put the structure back, but our crops have wilted,” said Hainghumbi.
The project was first established in 2005 and started off as a fish farm, but because of a lack of sufficient rainfall during the last years the project could not go ahead as planned. The project was then restored in 2015 when the group received a sponsorship.
“With that money we bought water pipes and tanks, materials to put up the greenhouse,” said Hainghumbi.
Hainghumbi is encouraging other unemployed and HIV-positive men and women to create income-generating projects to feed themselves and their families, instead of waiting for the government to support them.